June 25, 2008 · Updated 9:43 PM
"County, citizens should stop sprayingEver since the Endangered Species Act was applied to chinook salmon we've been waiting for Island County government to make a statement that it is no longer conducting business as usual when it comes to the environment. With roadside spraying season upon us, there is no better time than now to make such a statement.For years, The South Whidbey Record and others in the community have urged the county commissioners to stop the roadside spraying program. Its unpopularity is evident by the number of letters to the editor we receive on the subject, and by the number of No Spray signs that decorate our roadsides. There are plenty of reasons for concern, ranging from runoff into Puget Sound, collateral damage to native vegetation and wildlife, and human health questions.With such serious issues hanging over roadside spraying, it makes no environmental or political sense to continue the program. Commissioners Mike Shelton, Mac McDowell and Bill Thorn should stop the spraying now, before it begins. Just say no. There are other ways to manage roadside weeds. Just look across Admiralty Inlet to Jefferson County where poisonous spray hasn't been used in over 20 years. The public there seems satisfied with their roads and the lack of county-purchased poison in the air.Spraying isn't just a county government issue. Property owners should stop their own spraying programs, even if that means changing to hardier species of plants and vegetables or adopting better gardening techniques. A flyer that came in the mail last week contains two full pages of poisons or artificial fertilizers that can be purchased at the local hardware store: Roundup, Spectracide, TRIMEC, Weed & Feed, Miracle-Gro, Weed Preventer, Diazinon, Bug-B-Gon and Sevin are a few of the products advertised.Stop purchasing killer sprays. Control weeds mechanically. Grow things organically. It's the least we can do for our environment. "